This week on Khetha #11

Radio Stations: SABC Radio Stations

Topic: Apply Now: Health Sciences at University
Original Script Written by: Celimpilo Khumalo
Programme Date: 18-21 March 2019
Week: 11
Target Audience: The General public

Script Notes:

  • The programme is entitled: Apply Now: Health Sciences at University
  • This script will be translated to other official languages and broadcast on 10Broadcasting Services (PBS) radio stations.
  • The programme is characterised by the radio presenter and a guest from the Department of Higher Education and Training.
  • The radio presenter is the main anchor of the programme and he/she will control the activities on the programme.

The objectives of this programme are to:

  • Ensure the audience is aware of the application processes, dates and requirements in the Health Sciences faculty;
  • Provide information about screening processes and
  • Provide information about Assessment tests; and motivate applicants to apply early.

 The entire programme runs for 30 minutes; which includes Public Services announcements (PSAs).

Opening Billboard: ‘This programme is brought to you by the Department of Higher Education and Training in partnership with SABC Education.’

Programme Introduction

Presenter: Thank you for joining us for another informative episode of Khetha brought to you by the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) in partnership with SABC Education. Today we are talking about Apply Now: Health Sciences. Applications for careers or qualifications in the Health Sciences faculty close early, around May/June for admission to study the following year. Hence it is important that learners be aware of the application processes and other requirements. We are joined in the studio by our guest speaker from the Department ********. Our guest will enlighten us about the topic today. It’s good to have you on the show ********.

Presenter: What exactly are the Health Science careers?

Guest: Health Science careers lead to occupations that allow health workers to qualify and often treat patients with medical conditions. Common careers such as Medicine, Pharmacy, Nursing etc. often come to mind when talking about health related careers. Actually the field is very broad with a wide range of occupations in the field. The careers are categorized as follows:

  • Dental therapy and oral hygiene
  • Dietetics and nutrition
  • Emergency care
  • Environmental health
  • Medical and dental- Possible qualification Dentistry
  • Medical technology
  • Occupational therapy, medical orthotics, prosthetics and arts therapy
  • Optometry and dispensing opticians
  • Physiotherapy, podiatry and Biokinetics
  • Psychology
  • Radiography technology
  • Speech language and hearing professions

There are specific occupations within these categories and mostly they require a University qualification and training.

Presenter: What are the admission requirements to study within the categories you have mentioned?

Guest: It is essential to mention that each and every qualification and institution has specific minimum admission requirements. However there are generic principles that learners need to be aware of especially when we are talking admission to study at university. Let me explain these in details.

  • The minimum requirement is the National Senior Certificate (NSC) with admission to a Bachelor’s degree for a degree qualification. Learners who passed matric prior 2008, require a Senior Certificate with exemption. For diploma qualifications; learners need to have obtained an NSC with either a Bachelor or Diploma pass.
  • Subject requirements: the common compulsory subjects are Mathematics and Physical Sciences. Some institutions include Life Sciences as either required or recommended. It is crucial that learners get excellent marks or results for these subjects. Leaners are encouraged not to just aim for the minimum level or percentage as required by the institution but exceed it to stand a better chance for admission.
  • Admission Point Score (APS): This is the overall or total sum of subject marks obtained by the learner. For example, the total subject marks are added together to calculate the required APS. For example an APS of 40 means that all the subjects summed up should amount to 40. Note each qualification requires a specific APS as a basis for admission.

The final grade 11 report also forms part of the requirements. Most institutions (if not all) require it; failure to attach the report will result in the application being deemed as incomplete. University admissions are based on merit. This means that the higher your marks, the higher the chances of getting accepted. Therefore meeting the minimum requirements does not automatically guarantee admission to the programme you applied for. Furthermore; there is stiff competition considering that you apply with other learners who also want to get into similar programmes as you. Therefore learners need to work hard in order to achieve excellent marks.

Presenter: Thank you for this detailed explanation about the admission requirements. Now let’s talk about the application process. What important things are there to look out for?

Guest: I want to make applicants aware that there are two methods of applications namely: manual (hardcopy) and online application. It is worth noting that most institutions emphasise online applications. There are crucial aspects that you have to consider for both methods of application. First and foremost you need to check:

  • Closing dates: The closing date of the application according to the course you are applying for. Note that applications for admission to health sciences qualifications close early; that is end of May and June.
  • Important documents: attach certified copies of relevant documents required. When using online application it is important to upload the relevant documents.
  • Application fee: This is the amount an applicant has to pay in order for the application to be processed (this might not be applicable for online applications because in some institutions they are free).
  • Check list: go through a check list to ensure that you have followed correct instructions.
  • Ensure that the information provided on the application form is complete and accurate.

Presenter: What other important admission requirements should applicants be aware of?

Guest: The National Benchmark Test (NBT) is one of the common requirements for admission to university studies. NBT is an assessment/test that assesses academic readiness of first year university students. It assesses the ability to combine aspects of prior learning in competency areas that directly impact on success of first year university students. These tests are administered under standardized testing conditions at sites across South Africa on designated ‘national’ test dates. The university prescribes whether a learner should or should not write the test and which test to write.

In addition to the NBT; some universities have additional assessments, such as interviews for admission to specific programmes

Presenter: Where can learners obtain the application forms for Health Sciences courses?

Guest: They can obtain application forms through the following processes:

  1. Download and print application forms from the institution’s website.
  2. Collect forms at the registration and applications office at various campuses.
  3. Request that an application form be mailed to you by writing a letter to the institution’s Registrar
  4. You can also call the CDS helpline office for further advice regarding applications.

Please note that most universities encourage online application. This means that applicants must have access to internet. There are various places where learners can access free internet such as community libraries, youth desks at Municipal normally referred to as Thusong centres and National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) offices and schools with the help of Educators.

Presenter: Let’s say that a learner has applied early; what should happen next?

Guest: Learners often think that after applying, the application process ends there. Although it is expected that institutions should communicate with the applicants regarding the status of their application, I urge learners to also take initiative by contacting the university to track their application. They must not wait for the last minute.

Presenter: Please tell us of any available funding opportunities in the Health Sciences field and who offers them?

Guest: There are different types of funding opportunities available; namely Bursaries, Scholarships, and Loans. These are offered by different organizations such as government departments and entities, private companies and other organizations. Funding opportunities are advertised by the organization or department concerned and leaners must ensure that they apply in time. To get details about available funding opportunities from government departments, entities or private companies; learners must apply directly to these organizations. I will mention a few of these opportunities specifically for Health Sciences careers:

  • The Department of Health has a bursary for learners who are interested in health related careers. Applications are normally accessible at the district and provincial offices of the Department of Health in different areas. The bursaries are facilitated by the Provincial Health Departments. I urge learners to make enquiries at the nearest Department of Health regarding the application processes.
  • Municipalities also provide bursaries for their citizens mostly in the field of Nursing and Medicine. Candidates need to produce proof of residency to be eligible for the bursary.
  • The Department of Correctional Services also offers bursaries for some Health Sciences careers e.g. Medicine, Pharmacy, Nursing just to mention a few. Applicants can visit the Department’s website to get more information:
  • The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) is one of the National Public Entities which offers funding both in a form of bursaries and loans. NSFAS is accessible to all deserving and financially needy students in public higher institutions of learning. The Department of Higher Education and Training established a funding scheme managed by the National Student Financial Aid Scheme. For more information visit NFAS website:
  • The South African Medical Association (SAMA) The bursary is intended for students studying within themedical field, who are from disadvantaged backgrounds and also show strong academic ability. For more information visit the website:
  • The Professional Provident Society (PPS)
    • Biochemist
    • Biokineticist
    • Gynaecologist
    • Industrial Psychology
    • Nurses (with 4 year B.Cur degree)
    • Occupational Therapist
    • Pharmacist
    • Physiotherapist
    • Speech and Hearing Therapist
    • Surgeon
    • Veterinarian

For more information send an email to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

  • Motsepe Foundation Bursary also offers bursaries in the Medical field. For more information send an email to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.the Motsepe Foundation.
    Tel: 011 324 1500
  • The Clicks Limited Grouphttp://www.clicksgroup.co.za/

In order to be eligible for the bursary, applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • Confirmed South African citizenship;
  • Registered 2nd, 3rd, or 4th year BPharm student;
  • A full-time undergraduate student at a South African tertiary institution;
  • Aged between 19 – 35 years; and
  • Not be in possession of another bursary.

The bursary application period opens annually on 1 August and closes on 31 August. Late or incomplete applications will not be considered. Application is done online: https://careers.clicksgroup.co.za. Please note: preference will be given to historically disadvantaged South Africans.

Presenter: This is very enlightening! Do you have any words of encouragement to our prospective applicants?

Guest: It is crucial to get all the information you need as early as possible so that you make informed decisions and apply on time. Applying early for admission also puts you in a better position to apply for financial assistance. Remember when applying for funding opportunities you need to have proof that you have applied or that you have been provisionally admitted at a higher education institution.

Most learners procrastinate applying because they want to first get their grade 12 mid-term (June) reports. Note that if you are in grade 12, you need to use your grade 11 results to apply for admission at university. If your mid-term results are required; the university will communicate this to you. Do not wait until an institution closes for applications.

It is also essential to apply to as many universities as possible, at least three higher education institutions, if not more.

Presenter: Thank you for sharing this invaluable information with us and for your words of encouragement. I am certain that most of our young listeners enjoyed today’s topic and would need further advice. Where can our listeners get more information?

Guest: It is a pleasure and for more information the listener can reach us through

  1. Call 086 999 0123, which is a call share line, from Monday to Friday between 8:00am and 4:30pm,
  2. Visit the CareerHelp website at
  3. Our careers portal at
  4. Visit to our offices at 123 Francis Baard, Pretoria

To listen to Khetha podcasts, visit SABC Education platform at http://iono.fm/p/230

Closing Billboard: ‘This programme was brought to you by the Department of Higher Education and Training in partnership with SABC Education’.

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